Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 30155

Law 16 - Goal Kick 2/29/2016

RE: Rec, Select, Competitive High School

Julie Nourayi of rancho palos verdes, CA United States asks...

Situation: On a goal kick restart, a defender positions herself to the side of the PA and the ball is then kicked laterally to her. An attacker enters the PA (while the ball is still rolling through the PA, before being in play) and cuts through diagonally as a shortcut to the defender, so that when the ball enters the field of play, said attacker can then immediately challenge the defender for the ball.

The 2014 ATR states: '6.2 Opponents Must Remain Outside the Penalty Area Until the Ball Is in Play An opponent who infringes on the requirement to remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play should be warned and, upon a repetition, cautioned for persistent infringement. In any event, the goal kick is retaken.'

My reading of the ATR requires me to call this infraction once it affects play (I do not stop play if unaffected) and the GK is re-taken. Is this a correct interpretation of Law 16? I notice this happens in U12 up through high school games.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Julie
Your interpretation is correct. An attacker cannot enter the penalty area until the ball is in play which is the point it leaves the penalty area. If the action of the attacker impacts on play then it is retake.
If it has little or no impact then play should continue. The referee can take her cue from the defending team here. If the team wants to get on with play then bringing play back might disadvantage the team.
It is unlikely ever to be a caution unless it is done deliberately to delay the restart with say multiple restarts or a repeat after being told not to do it.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Julie,
well done you are spot on.

Free kick inside the penalty area (includes goal kick)
Direct or indirect free kick to the defending team:
• all opponents must be at least 9.15 m (10 yds) from the ball
• all opponents must remain outside the penalty area until the ball is in play
• the ball is in play when it is kicked directly out of the penalty area
• a free kick awarded in the goal area may be taken from any point inside
that area

Cutting the corners is common and is illegal. While it can be trifling it can create a need to retake and if it is persistent then a caution for delaying the restart of play is feasible. I agree a warning to desist should accompany any such action be it affecting play or not. Many younger players simply forget!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 30155
Read other Q & A regarding Law 16 - Goal Kick

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The free opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members. While there is no charge for asking the questions, donation to maintain the site are welcomed! <>